Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating and often disabling autoimmune disease with dreaded personal, social and economic effects. Although less common than osteoarthritis, it is usually more severe. RA affects interstitial tissues, blood vessels, cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments, as well as the synovial membranes that line the joint surfaces. RA occurs more frequently in women than in men. The most frequent onset is between 20 and 45 years of age. (Mahan et al.)
Arthritis in the beginning is followed by numerous remissions and exacerbations, although in some people it only lasts for a few months or years and then disappears completely. Although any joint can be affected in RA, most commonly the small joints of the extremities, typically the proximal interphalangeal joints of the hands and feet, are affected. (Mahan et al.)
RA is a systemic, autoimmune, chronic disorder involving cytokines and the process of inflammation. RA has joint manifestations due to chronic inflammation, which begins in the synovial membrane and progresses to subsequent articular cartilage lesions. Although the exact cause of RA is still unknown, certain genes have been found to be involved. The likely trigger is a viral or bacterial infection.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include the following:
Tender, warm, swollen joints
Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
Tiredness, fever and loss of appetite
In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first, especially those in the fingers and toes.
As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of the body.
About 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritis also have signs and symptoms that do not involve the joints. Areas that may be affected include the following:
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary in intensity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flare-ups, alternate between periods of relative remission, when swelling and pain dissipate or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to become deformed and out of place. (Mayo Clinic)
The onset of rheumatoid factor (RF) may precede RA symptoms. Pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of function and anemia are common. Swelling is caused by the accumulation of synovial fluid in the membrane lining the joints and inflammation of adjacent tissues. Patients with RA are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, due to the inflammatory response, as a result of the fact that NSAIDs used for RA can cause hyperhomocysteinemia, hypertension and hyperglycemia. Thus, treatment that reduces inflammation benefits both conditions. (Mahan et al.)
Medications to control pain and inflammation are the therapeutic mainstay of RA. Anti-inflammatories and analgesics are usually the first line of therapy and methotrexate (MTX) is also prescribed. The choice of drug group and type of drug is based differently for each patient, as each organism is different and so are the therapeutic needs. All drugs can produce nutritional side effects. It is possible that these effects affect intake, digestion and absorption, and thus nutritional status.
Medications to control pain and inflammation are the therapeutic mainstay of RA. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs are usually the first line of therapy and methotrexate (MTX) is also prescribed. The choice of drug group and type of drug is based differently for each patient, as each organism is different and so are the therapeutic needs. All drugs can produce nutritional side effects. It is possible that these effects affect intake, digestion and absorption, and thus nutritional status.
Measures to prevent symptoms
Sleep an average of 8-10 hours at night.
Avoid activities that require physical exertion, require prolonged standing or repetitive movements, especially with the hands.
In housework, try not to use force with your hands. There are utensils that can be of great help for housework.
During periods of low inflammation, it is highly recommended to practice some physical exercise regularly and without getting tired.
During the rest, it is necessary to adopt a suitable posture, avoiding bending the joints.
The use of appropriate footwear is essential.
An inflamed joint should be kept at rest. However, it is very convenient to have a good musculature around the inflamed joint, but without moving the joint ("isometric" exercises).
The use of devices that maintain the proper position of the fingers (splints) for night use, prevents future deformities.
In our clinical center Alpha Research Institute we have a clinical study for Rheumatoid Arthritis where if you suffer from this condition and you are in the Houston, Texas area you can participate as a donor of a biological sample, in this case a blood sample. If you have not had a positive response to anti-TNF drugs or Methotrexate; with your collaboration we will be able to improve the treatments and medications that are currently used and even implement new and more effective ones. For your time and participation you will receive a financial compensation of $50.
If you are interested in participating please fill in the following link https://www.alpharesearchinst.com/rheumatoid-arthritis